Hello. I’m new to this list and joined because I’m doing research on Alien Invasive Species (IAS) management in developing regions. I don’t know if this will be considered to be ‘off-topic’, but I’ve just completed a literature review to be published later this year. One of the aims was to determine which databases and search strategies produce the most IAS data on developing regions, and to determine geographical and other sources of bias in existing databases.
Using sub-Saharan Africa and, in greater depth, Ethiopia as a case study, I found that the GISD (Global Invasive Species Database) and the CABI Invasive Species Compendium (CABI ISC), the largest global IAS databases, do not reflect the status of IAS as reflected in the control literature. GISD and CABI contain a very different set of species - CABI ISC includes species that threaten natural ecosystems but also that affect human-dominated ecosystems and human well-being; the GISD includes only species threatening ‘natural’ ecosystems and native species. I have mainly used CABI ISC because it much better reflects what developing countries are actually doing to attempt to control IAS. I use the existence of country-specific literature that targets species for control as evidence of the species’ presence and threats in that country.
Two figures and a table illustrate. The table shows how I located the literature in the first place. Most of the literature on IAS management cannot be located using ‘invasive species’ search terms. Instead, it is found using search terms such as ‘weeds’ and ‘biocontrol’. The figures show something even more interesting. They compare the status of IAS in Ethiopia as reported by the CABI ISC with the number of citations found in the Ethiopian control literature for the ISC-listed species. The GISD database contains only 20 of the 110 species that are control targets in Ethiopia that are listed in the ISC database. The GISD reports only 8 of these 20 species as invasive in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian literature deals with an additional 109 species not listed in either database, but that are considered as ‘problematic’ and damaging for humans and ecosystems. It seems to me that, to begin to determine the status of IAS in developing countries at least, one has to locate the literature on IAS management.
As well, there appears to be a ‘conservation-development schism’ in these two databases; many scientists argue that developing countries aren’t doing enough to manage IAS, but they often lack an evidence base for such assertions.
Pleased to hear any feedback.